Yesterday I was directed by a friend to a great discussion series on NPR the other day on the obesity epidemic in the U.S. This part of the series was about just how obesity is affecting businessess and the workplace in some very obvious and not so obvious ways. Both are adding up and hitting the the company bottom line in a very big way, however. Here are a few eye-opening excerpts from the piece:
One in three U.S. adults is obese, and researchers say the impact on business can be boiled down to a number: $1,000 to $6,000 in added cost per year for each obese employee, the figure rising along with a worker’s body mass index.
Studies estimate the total cost of obesity to U.S. employers — including lost productivity — at $73 billion a year. But that figure doesn’t include some of the smaller ways the workplace is adapting.
In the middle of a sprawling tech trade show in Washington, D.C., tucked down an aisle, is a display of Big and Tall office chairs.
“You can see the large seat pan,” says Pete Gaffney of Ergogenesis, known for its line of Bodybilt chairs.
Gaffney says the chair supports up to 500 pounds, but “if someone were to weigh 430 pounds, they’d be too large for that seat pan. So we had to move to a Bariatric seat, a very wide seat.”
That chair came on the market two years ago. It’s priced at $1,300 or more and is able to hold up to 600 pounds. To even Gaffney’s surprise, it’s selling; in his region alone he gets two to three requests a month.
Go listen to, or read, the transcripts from the discussion here: Workplaces Feel The Impact of Obesity
Once you’ve done that, you may want to ask yourself as a small or mid-sized business owner or CEO, what it is you’re waiting for to try in earnest to tackle this very significant issue that is quickly becoming a not-so-hidden, and very significant, cost to your bottom line? Is spending a few hundred, or even thousand, dollars a year really that big of an expense (or investment) to begin trying to do something about this issue in earnest and eventually turn things around for your employees and your bottom line? Take a few minutes today and learn more about our highly flexible, affordable, effective solution at our wellness challenges and wellness programs pages.